Hijacking on Pinterest

Hijacking on Pinterest

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest  then I guess you haven’t been online lately. Pinterest, a popular social media website, is now driving more referral traffic than Google and YouTube.  I love Pinterest because you can get your message across with nothing more than a photo.  With our fast-paced society, people are more willing to take a quick look at your photo than they are to read your blog so if you want to get your point across, pictures are worth a thousand words.

As much as I love Pinterest, I have found a glitch in their system that really needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Have you heard about Collaborative Boards on Pinterest?  Collaborative Boards are pinboards which have more than one contributor.  Any Pinterest user can add someone to one of these boards as a contributor.  All you have to do is follow one board belonging to another Pinterest user and you can add them as a contributor.  You don’t have to ask their permission. You simply add them to the Collaborative Board.

Once a user is added as a contributor, the Collaborative Board shows up on that user’s Pinterest page along with all the other boards associated with the account.

Pinterest claims that you have the option to remove yourself from these collaborative pinboards, however, right now that is not the case.  This is a glitch in the system that must be addressed immediately!

Military Missions Inc, the nonprofit I founded a few years ago, is using Pinterest. We love it because we use photos all the time to share our mission and it has given us a new population of people to reach with information about our organization.

Recently, Military Missions was added to a Collaborative Board, however, and it is now causing us problems.

When I received notification that we were added to the Collaborative Board, I wasn’t really sure what this notification meant since this was actually my first introduction to the fact that these Collaborative Boards existed.  At first glance it seemed harmless and in fact, seemed like it might be a positive. As a part of this collaboration, we were grouped with other nonprofits supporting military and veteran families, as well as military organizations. Military Missions has collaborated with many organizations over the years in a variety of ways, and we are amongst some of the first to agree that we all need to work together to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that there was a downside to this collaboration.  Any photo that is added to a Collaborative Board will automatically show up on that board, and that board is going to also automatically show up on every contributor’s page.  Now, whether I want it there or not, photos posted to the Collaborative Board of which we have been included as a contributor will be posted on our page which is representing our organization and we have no control over it.

How did I learn this?  The hard way, of course! It wasn’t long before a photo was posted that was not what we consider appropriate for our audience.  It took me less than a second to come to the realization that I didn’t know any of these contributors to which I have been tethered.  I’m sure they are all nice people with great organizational purposes, but it is very likely that we all have different moral compasses and we all have different guidelines which we must follow.  It’s hard enough to keep everyone personally involved with our organization on the same page, so this cyberspace collaboration is definitely something we need to view with a careful eye.

I immediately tried to delete the Collaborative Board off of our organization’s Pinterest page.  Not an option.  Next I tried to remove our organization from the list of contributors. Again, not an option.  Even though I researched how to do it, and followed the easy-to-use instructions, here’s the glitch! It’s not working!

Next I tried to contact the person who set up the board.  Hmmmm….did you know you can not send a message to others in the Pinterest community via Pinterest?   I’m creative enough, so I quickly went to Facebook, did a search for the creator, found them, and sent them a message asking to be removed.

I received a message back quickly, but it was to inform me that she had tried to remove us from the Collaborative Board and, even she, the creator, was not able to do it.  She apologized and has removed the questionable photo in the meantime which we appreciate.

I’ve written to Pinterest at the address they list as a contact for help.  I hope they are more timely in responding than Facebook has been in the past.  I found out last year that it takes an act of God to hear back from anyone residing in the official Facebook castle on a hill. I’m still waiting for a response from Facebook for a problem I had with them in November 2010.

I suggest that the creators of Pinterest come up with a solution to this problem immediately. Realizing one shouldn’t criticize without offering to roll up their sleeves and help, I suggest that the first thing they do is simply fix their “REMOVE” feature that isn’t working for their Collaborative Boards.  Maybe all it takes is smart techie going behind the scenes to change a code.

Secondly, I suggest that Pinterest require pre-approval for additions to Collaborative Boards.  I don’t think anyone should be added to a Collaborative Board unless they have the opportunity to check out the situation and accept the invitation.  Our organization was included in a Collaborative Board before I even understood what it was or how it was used. I didn’t even know these boards existed until I found myself in this pickle.

I would also suggest that Pinterest come up with a way to allow users to communicate with one another.  I shouldn’t have to resort to my detective skills and go to another social media website to communicate with a Pinterest user who is able to hijack the integrity of my nonprofit by posting photos on my pinboards.

I have asked the creator of the Collaborative Board to delete it and start from scratch, keeping our organization out of the mix.  It may be the easiest way to remedy the situation.  I sure hope she will oblige.

Collaboration can be a good thing, but I think we will pass on this option in the Pinterest world.  It is too easy to have your pinboards hijacked.  We’ve worked too hard to create our brand and our image to have a poorly selected photo chosen by someone else go viral and bring the walls down around us, so thanks, but no thanks! We don’t want to be included in your Collaborative Board.



  1. James says:

    Hi Beth,

    I was doing some research as well because the same thing has happened to us! A collaborative board is appearing on our profile that we want to take off but the remove button is broken! It just sits there when you click remove. You wrote this a while ago and i cant believe this problem is still unsolved. I was wondering if you have found any more info regarding the situation.


  2. Ann Devaser says:

    I am getting constant emails regarding a collaborative board named The Weary Traveler by tomorrow I will have hundreds. The Remove button does not work. If anyone knows what to do please advise

  3. Beth says:

    I never did get an answer from Pinterest when I inquired. I was able to get the collaborative board creator to take me off the board. I had to find the person by doing a search on Facebook so I could contact her to ask her to take me off. It turned into quite a research project but I was able to take care of the problem in that way. That is ridiculous that after 6 months nothing has changed.

  4. D Dennis says:

    I agree. Have been trying to delete myself from a board. It’s impossible.

Speak Your Mind